"We discovered that our strategies and values were well suited to each other, fell in love and got married," smiles Flemming Lindeløv, President and CEO of Carlsberg Breweries, referring to Carlsberg and Orkla, who last year merged their beverage businesses to form one of the biggest brewery groups in the world. Now that the honeymoon is over, what is on the agenda for the new organisation?
Flemming Lindeløv is fully aware that the establishment of Carlsberg Breweries has caused a certain amount of unrest in the organisation.
"It is almost inevitable for stories about "the other one" to emerge and people to ask questions such as 'What will happen to me?' " says Mr Lindeløv.
He nevertheless believes that calm now reigns in the new company and that neither Carlsberg nor Orkla have experienced any major surprises. "We are equal partners with the same business attitudes. We want to learn the best from each other in order to create an even better business system for beverages," he emphasises.
"How has cooperation between Carlsberg and Orkla functioned so far?"
"Marvellously. It has been a pleasure to get new blood into the organisation and we have plenty of exciting ideas. We have a great deal to learn from Orkla in the field of systematic brand-building. We also want to learn more about Orkla's management training programmes, which we have heard are excellent. Carlsberg Breweries has international brewery expertise, while Orkla contributes its portfolio approach. We quickly agreed that Carlsberg will be our global premium brand, and that we shall simultaneously focus on strong local brands."
"There has been a certain amount of unrest about corporate democracy at Carlsberg Breweries."
"Yes, and we regret that. However, the tone is constructive and we are working on putting into place a corporate democracy that will satisfy everyone. Nothing has yet been decided about the formal structure for cooperation at Carlsberg Breweries, but we are working on a concrete proposal."
"You have asked your staff to write e-mails to you personally about their wishes for the future. What has the response been like?"
"I have received a large number of constructive, useful messages. Our staff are asking for a more clearly defined environmental policy, and that will be presented soon. The trainees ask us to use them far better and more internationally. I have received proposals about brand-building on the markets where Carlsberg does not have a presence, and ideas concerning personal development for employees. We will address, or have already addressed, all these issues."
"What are the most important challenges for the future?"
"Work on the strategic plan for Carlsberg Breweries is well under way, and we aim to obtain the Board's approval in the course of the summer. Our challenge will be to ensure that all parts of the organisation are aware of the strategic plan so that everyone knows Carlsberg Breweries' objectives. We are all members of the same family and can learn a great deal from one another. For example, why are the Finns better at distribution than the Danes? In this case we can carry out technical benchmarking. There are many examples of how we can achieve synergy effects by cooperating across organisational borders. It is a matter of utilising all the knowledge we jointly possess."
The Spirit of Carlsberg
A strong global front
Carlsberg is a unique brand that is sold in 140 countries. With a strategy focused on internationalisation and successful sponsorship agreements, Carlsberg has achieved the position of second largest brand in the world. Carlsberg's brand identity is based on the values of tradition, quality and internationalism. Now Carlsberg Breweries is to develop a stronger international, common front for Carlsberg.
"We are going to have a global and a local strategy simultaneously, with Carlsberg as our international premium beer, Tuborg as our regional brand, and a strong local portfolio. Orkla's beverages strategy focused strongly on portfolio thinking, with emphasis on local brands, but lacked a global brand, which is what Carlsberg's strategy largely focused on. We complement each other and can now develop a stronger strategy together," says International Brand Manager Birgitte Weeke of the Marketing and Innovation Department (MAIN).
"We know that Carlsberg is a unique brand. We are now gathering information in order to be able to define the special Carlsberg identity even more clearly. We must all agree on what 'The Spirit of Carlsberg' actually is," says Ms Weeke.
MAIN is now asking marketing staff, key personnel, advertising agencies and consumers around the world what they associate with the Carlsberg brand. This information will be processed to produce a common language and marketing tool this autumn.
Is it possible that Birgitte Weeke has been inspired by Orkla's brand-building expertise? "Yes, Orkla's brand approach is very stimulating. There are many areas where we can collaborate, complement each other and achieve synergy effects," she confirms.
Working more closely together
Carlsberg Breweries' Marketing and Innovation Department is as new as the company itself. Marketing and Innovation used to work separately, and this led to less innovation.
"It is incredibly important to work closely together. We cooperate on everything from packaging to product development, and more easily produce new ideas about what is possible. We used to be in separate buildings and the marketing department often ordered products from Innovation. Now, Research is also included in the process at an early stage," relates Ms Weeke.
MAIN's job is to pass on expertise to local markets all over the world. "We must be closer to the markets. When we have developed our common language, we shall also be better able to pool our expertise - not least through our worldwide Intranet," concludes Ms Weeke.
What does Carlsberg Breweries mean to its employees?
We asked a Danish, a Swedish and a Norwegian employee about their relationship with Carlsberg Breweries.
Torben Olsen, brewery worker, Carlsberg Denmark
"We don't notice the change in ownership in our day-to-day work. To us, it will still be Carlsberg, even though we are now called Carlsberg Denmark and are part of Carlsberg Breweries. We were surprised that it was Orkla that became a major shareholder. We had never heard of Orkla before and don't know much about the company. Consequently, I can't say what it means for the organisation that the Norwegian company owns 40 per cent of Carlsberg Breweries. We are all proud of working for Carlsberg, but the older employees are having difficulty with the internal competitive mentality that has arisen since the manpower cutbacks and the reorganisation into self-managed groups. This trend will probably continue at Carlsberg Breweries."
Peter Jibrandt, Materials and Administration Manager, Carlsberg Sweden
"Carlsberg is a strong brand and an international player on the beer market. I think it is positive that we are now part of a larger brewery complex and that we have access to a stronger beer portfolio than before. I will continue to cooperate on procurement with Orkla companies such as Procordia Food, Abba Seafood and GB Kex here in Sweden, but across the border I shall be working with Carlsberg Breweries companies such as Carlsberg Denmark, Sinebrychoff in Finland and Ringnes in Norway. We will be seeing synergy effects from our joint efforts."
Merete Sæther, Systems Coordinator, Ringnes
"At Ringnes, we became aware that we were part of Carlsberg Breweries at a meeting at Gjelleråsen where Bjørn Wiggen told us what would happen and we saw Flemming Lindeløv on video. In our day-to-day work, we notice as little of Carlsberg Breweries as we did when Orkla owned us 100 per cent. I think it's great that we have become part of a larger international brewery group with such a strong brand as Carlsberg. In Norway, I still say that I work for Ringnes, since everyone knows Ringnes here, but abroad I say I work for Carlsberg Breweries. It's exciting for the whole organisation that we can benefit from each other's experience in fields such as technology and marketing. It is also an advantage to be part of a larger brewery group as the business becomes increasingly international."
It all began in 1847...
- is one of the largest brewery groups in the world, owned 60 per cent by Carlsberg and 40 per cent by Orkla
- has annual operating revenues totalling more than DKK 30 billion
- has 29,000 employees
- produces 6 billion litres of beer and 1.2 billion litres of soft drinks and mineral water per year
- owns breweries in 43 countries
- markets the international Carlsberg brand in approximately 140 countries
- has Carlsberg as its international premium beer and 17 regional and local brands, including Tuborg, Cardinal and Feldschlösschen (Switzerland), Tetley's (England), Dragon 8 (China), Ringnes (Norway), Baltika (Russia), Koff (Finland), Okocim (Poland), Super Bock (Portugal), Splügen (Italy), Hannen (Germany), Svyturys (Lithuania), Hite (Japan), Pan (Croatia), Pripps (Sweden) and Beer Chang (Thailand)
Brewer J. C. Jacobsen founds an industrial brewery on a hill in
A number of industrialists and financiers found Tuborgs Fabrikker north of Copenhagen, where the country estate Thuesborg was situated in the 17th century.
J. C. Jacobsen founds a research laboratory at his brewery in order to base production on research and hygiene.
J. C. Jacobsen establishes the Carlsberg Fund, one of the first private funds in Europe.
Tuborg invests in beer production and introduces light pilsner beer in Denmark.
Carl Jacobsen founds his own brewery, Ny (New) Carlsberg, close to the old one.
The Carlsberg Fund becomes sole owner of Gamle (Old) Carlsberg after the death of J. C. Jacobsen.
Tuborg joins De forenede Bryggerier (The United Breweries).
De forenede Bryggerier and Carlsberg sign an agreement to share profits and losses.
The division of production between Old and New Carlsberg was unprofitable in the long run and the breweries merged to form Carlsberg Bryggerierne (The Carlsberg Breweries).
Carlsberg and Tuborg merge on the basis of the old agreement from 1903.
Carlsberg and Orkla merge their beverage operations and form Carlsberg Breweries
J. C. and Carl Jacobsen's famous words
"In the operation of the breweries, our constant aim will be, with no consideration for immediate advantage, to develop the process to the greatest possible degree of perfection, so that these breweries and their product may always stand as an ideal and, through their example, help to ensure that beer brewing in this country maintains high and honourable standards."